• My favorite books of last year

    I don’t watch TV and only watch movies in airplanes and as a social activity. I’ve heard there are some really great TV series out, and enjoy the movies I do get to see, I just never seem to find the time.

    When I walk into the door of my apartment, the first thing I do is switch my headset to my bluetooth speaker to continue the podcast or audiobook I’m listening to. I move around the house listening to stories, from when I wake up to when I go to bed. While I should learn to appreciate the silence because I know the benefits of boredom, the idea of not listening and learning something gives me serious FOMO.

    So bear in mind that’s hard for me to widdle down a list of books to recommend because I’m often like “but that book taught me to look at X thing in Y way!”

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  • 2017 in review

    2017 was a surprising year.

    Last year during New Years Eve I was on a rooftop in India, the election was happening, but I was hopeful. The fact that I only wrote eight (eight!!) times last year tells me that my mind was occupied elsewhere…I’ll spare everyone.


    01_ I read 45 books. This was one of the things that I was most thankful for this year. Getting to listen to all the audiobooks I wanted from the San Francisco library for free through my phone was my favorite thing (you might remember it as one of my 8 posts). I want to dive further into my favorite books in another post.

    Here are a few from a sweet GoodReads screenshot. 

    02_ I went to three weddings and my entire group chat got married (sans me).

    These two!

    03_ I traveled to Wyoming, Colorado, San Diego, Boston, tourist-hoppin’ in India, France, London, Beijing, and to the tippy top of Half Dome in Yosemite on a 3-day backpacking trip.

    Andrew found a sweet chill spot.

    That sweet sweet princess time we all need.

    04_ Sunny days with sunny people

  • Holding a mirror up to nature (and maps)

    I have thought about this a lot but I didn’t know how to say it. It is clear that time is not going to make me more articulate, but maybe discussion will: We should stop caring so much about truth.

    It’s scary for me to say that considering everything that’s happening right now. I’m living in a climate where we think everything will be fixed with Truth, but we haven’t agreed on what Truth means. There are many wrongs, misunderstandings, and…well—lies—out there that we hardheadedly keep trying to shove Truth at because we think that will fix it. “How can they be so blind? How do they not see the Truth?” both sides think.

    Truth. Facts. Real. These are objective things we rational humans should agree on. Right?


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  • I’d be shunned by Schön right now

    One of the big differences between school and work for me is I have less time to reflect on my work. Instead of the teacher asking you ‘why’ and wanting to hear your answer, you get more of people asking ‘why’ as an opener for their idea. I’ve been working on this project lately and realizing how little mental space I give to let things settle. It’s like when you’re at a party and there aren’t enough flat surfaces to put down your cup. I was reading about a group of designers who wanted to try bring academia and practice closer together so that the research and inspirations from the academic world aren’t so far away from what people are doing at work. I thought it was a neat and a worthwhile project….and then it got lost in a bunch of email and other work.

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  • Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good

    …or good be the enemy of done.

    My co-worker would occasionally warn me “don’t let perfect be the enemy of good” when I was getting too caught up on the details of my projects. An unbelievable ~3 months have gone by since my last post. I’ve been thinking about all these big things I want to write about but couldn’t carve out the time or the ability to do so—at least with the thoughtfulness I fantasized about. It felt like, if I am going to take anyone’s time away from thinking about the political garbage fire that’s happening right now, it should be for something worthwhile. So I built up all these topics I wanted to write about in my head until they became more daunting than necessary. (But seriously, is it even ok to talk about normal things in a world so not normal?)

    Here are some things I’ve been meaning to tell you.

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  • Take a look, it’s in a book

    In the beautiful wisdom of of the Reading Rainbow theme song, I’d like to invite you all to take a look, because it’s in a book. A reading rainbow.

    Something magical happened that will change my life for the better ever after.

    I learned that I can borrow audiobooks from the San Francisco library from an app on my phone. Everyone: This is revolutionary for an audiobook fiend like myself. Like a junky, I have spent nearly a year trying to get by on my one measly Audible audiobook a month subscription plan (that I used my adult money to finally subscribe too) and filled in the rest of my days with podcasts (not the worst, but just sayin’). When I discovered that I could borrow audiobooks from the library digitally, I was beside myself with joy. I’ve told nearly everyone I’ve met about it even though they don’t really care. I can get nearly all the books I want directly into my hearing holes! ::TEARS::. (I have already read 10 books since January 1).

    The very first book I checked out? Between the World and Me—they had it! It’s been on my to-read list for over a year now and I was so excited. This is a beautiful, beautiful book that should be on everyone’s to-read. It reads like poetry and I’m so glad I got to hear his story. If you only read one book this year (why would you do that though?), this might be it.

    When I finished, it happened to be February 1st and my app was recommending a bunch of other similar books…oh wait, it was Black History Month. As a terrible human who doesn’t do nearly enough to help others on this unforgiving planet, I thought maybe one small way I could understand someone else’s life was to read books by black authors this month (although it took a little longer to finish them). I realized that I have been reading so many non-fiction science/psychology books lately and haven’t really dove into stories in a while.

    Every bookworm will tell you, books are window into another life. It’s one of the few ways to immerse yourself in another’s experiences and feelings. It’s really incredible how powerful books can be. I haven’t read a huge diversity of authors besides White Dudes so I thought this was the perfect nudge in that direction. I have this belief that if you read and feel for another person’s experience it just has to change how you act in the world. I wonder what kind of story needs to be told in order to change someone’s mind. Statistics are great and help us make hard decisions. But the humanities keep us human.

    Here are the books I read:


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  • Savory sweet potato & chickpea wraps

    I was complaining to a friend this week about how all the vegetarian recipes I’ve made recently taste people who are diets trying to pretend they’ve made something good. Christy was surprised to hear this because she’s started cooking vegan this year and has had some really delicious recipes.

    Me: please share your secrets with me!

    Christy: Vegan thanksgiving wraps from Minimalist Baker.


    It was so good. It tasted like flavors! It’s the best thing I’ve cooked in a really long time. It also looks really fancy, but isn’t complicated. I feel like I know more about how flavors work now.

    My initial thoughts when I scanned the recipe 1) I was worried that it would be sweet because I saw sweet potatoes, cranberries, and cinnamon (which I associate with cinnamon-sugar, I guess) and 2) that it would be time consuming (though you don’t have to make your own flatbread).

    But then, Christy has never advised me poorly before and: we’re always scrambling to optimize our time, but for what? So we can spend more time staring at our computers? Pish-posh. Let’s do it!

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  • A little crusty…wait, I mean ‘rusty’

    Earlier this month I spent a week talking to people about their goals. I think it was therapeutic for them to kind of discuss their goals and really think about the root cause. I mean, how many times do you really get the luxury of talking and being listened to for hours? To articulate your motivations and your vision for your future? And there’s also something great about getting to spill your guts to strangers who you can trust not to tell anyone and who will take you at your word because they don’t know you well enough not to.

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  • Valentine’s Day cards for your pet

    Continuing a tradition that seems odd for someone with basically no heart, my third annual Valentine’s Day cards!

    Avoid the doghouse this February 14th and let your special someone know you’ll always be loyal. Come on, you shy love birds, you!—Don’t miss your chance with that one cool cat. 

    <<printable download>>

    birds Hamster





  • When a protest is like a funeral

    A This I Believe episode that’s always stuck with me is “Always go to the funeral.” Going to a funeral is a life event you go to not for yourself, but for others. Especially if you’re close to the deceased. It’s an act of generosity for you to attend something that might be sad, painful, and uncomfortable. But you’re doing it to celebrate life of someone else and to support those left behind. I think about this maxim a lot when I have to go somewhere I don’t want to. A friend has invited me to something far away or it’s raining or I’m tired or a million other little excuses. I don’t want to go, but I muster my introverted body onto a bus and shuttle myself over because I know it would mean a lot to them. It’s a small effort on my part—a negligible sacrifice of the quiet evening at home I pine for—that is impactful to my friend. It’s this lost art of being reliable and the maturity to do things that you might not be over-the-moon excited for.

    I hope you, especially my male friends, will consider attending the Women’s March on Washington this Saturday, wherever your call home. To be honest, it’s not something that I thought I would participate in even a few weeks ago. I don’t really want to go, but I would regret not doing it. I would regret not taking showing my support and taking a stand on women’s issues. It’s like…I don’t want be a feminist. I really don’t want to be a feminist. Until the passed couple of years I’ve resisted all things feminine. But feminism was forced upon me. The older I got, it wasn’t just being aware of bad things that happen to other women or unwittingly to me (unrealistic standards of beauty, unequal pay, or violence), it was confronting it myself over and over again. Listening to my co-workers undermine my authority in front of clients, listening to them sexualize women in front of me (I had to look up what motor boating meant), and once, when he was drunk, my manager mentioned my weight gain like he was trying to warn me I shouldn’t be so confident.  There was getting harassed and cat called on the street over and over again. I remember one week in Pittsburgh something uncomfortable happened nearly every time I left campus. Someone slowed their car down to shout acts of sexual violence at me. I felt so angry and powerless.

    And then there’s the literal cost of being a woman, the clothes, the makeup, the time we are expected to put into looking nice otherwise we’ll get asked “Are you sick? You look tired.” My beautiful friends with self-esteems that are torn apart not just by the the images of beauty in magazines and movies, but by their own friends who are fret about diets, weight, hair, and skin care until it becomes a just normal culture to feel bad about yourself. Which I do, still, all the time.

    It all really wore on me.

    I can’t be aware of what’s happening and do nothing. I can’t say nothing. Because we live in a country where a man can get caught in the act or raping a woman and get a boys-will-be-boys slap on the wrist. Where being a famous woman means also getting tweets, messages, and comments about your looks, your voice, or just flat out threats and sexual harassment. And now more than ever I have fear of this anti-feminist culture where our president-elect boasts about sexual assault, demeans women beyond their looks, and represents a movement that is taking aware our access to healthcare. I wish we didn’t need feminism, but we do.

    Yes, it’s just a march. By participating, things won’t magically change the next day. Unfortunately it’s not that easy. You show up because you care. You show up because it matters. You show up because you want to teach others that you think it matters. It one day and one distance in your life, but it means a lot to others.

    I hope you’ll give it some serious thought.